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    Aiding and Abetting a Crime

    What is aiding and abetting, also known as being an accessory to a crime? Information about this incomplete crime, how it is proved, and common defenses.

    Aiding and Abetting a Crime

    The inchoate crime of aiding and abetting applies to an individual who assists in a crime, but does not commit the crime himself. This person is also known as an “accessory to the crime.” Aiding and abetting varies greatly by state, with some states varying the severity of the charge depending on the level of involvement of the accessory.

    Accessory and Principal

    Aiding and abetting requires the existence of both a “principal” and an “accessory.” The principal is the person who is primarily responsible for the crime and who likely ultimately committed the crime. If two or more individuals are responsible for a crime they can be charged as joint principals. The accessory is the person who assists with the crime but is not directly involved with its actual commission. Typically, the test for distinguishing between the two is whether the person directly contributed to the crime (a principal) or merely provided background help or assistance (an accessory).

    Principals and Accessories

    Principal = a person who directly committed the crime

    Accessory = a person who provided background assistance for the crime

    Elements of Aiding and Abetting

    A charge of aiding and abetting has three requirements. First, someone else must have committed a crime. Second, the defendant must have assisted that person in the commission of the crime. Third, the defendant must have had knowledge of that person’s criminal intent or criminal plans. An individual will not be found guilty for accidentally assisting in a crime. For instance, if a man knows that his friends have committed a crime and are trying to escape and he causes an accident in order to allow them to get away from the police, this could be aiding and abetting. However, if the same man is involved in an accident that allows burglars to get away from the police, but he has no knowledge of the burglary or the effect his accident would have, he cannot be charged with aiding and abetting.

    An accessory to a crime can have knowledge of criminal intent before, or after, the commission of the crime. An individual who is aware of the crime before it occurs and gives assistance in preparation to commit the crime is called an “accessory before the fact.” If an individual only learns of the crime after it has taken place, but provides assistance in the aftermath of the crime, he is known as an “accessory after the fact.”

    Aiding and Abetting Elements

    1

    Someone else committed the crime

    2

    The defendant assisted that person

    3

    The defendant knew of that person’s intent

    The types of actions that constitute assistance to a crime vary greatly. A person may provide advice, supplies, financial support, or engage in actions such as acting as a lookout or driving the getaway car. Where the assistance the accessory provides rises to the level of significant involvement in planning the crime, this can elevate the charge from aiding and abetting to conspiracy.

    Punishment

    In most states, accessories face lesser punishment than principals for crimes that are committed. However, other states consider accessories just as guilty as principals because they also intended for the crime to be committed. It is important to check the laws of your state in order to determine what punishments may apply.

    It is also important to note that even if a principal is not convicted of a crime (perhaps because of mistaken identity or another defense), the accessory may still be charged with aiding and abetting if a crime was committed and he assisted in the commission of that crime.

    Some states allow a defense of abandonment or withdrawal for an individual charged with aiding and abetting. For instance, in California, a defendant may be found not guilty if he can establish that he notified everyone else involved in the crime that he was no longer participating in the crime and that he did everything reasonably within his power to prevent the crime from being committed, such as reporting the planned crime to the police.

    Last reviewed October 2021

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    Source : www.justia.com

    2474. Elements Of Aiding And Abetting

    This is archived content from the U.S. Department of Justice website. The information here may be outdated and links may no longer function. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about the archive site.

    This is archived content from the U.S. Department of Justice website. The information here may be outdated and links may no longer function. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about the archive site.

    2474. Elements Of Aiding And Abetting

    The elements necessary to convict under aiding and abetting theory are

    1. That the accused had specific intent to facilitate the commission of a crime by another;

    2. That the accused had the requisite intent of the underlying substantive offense;

    3. That the accused assisted or participated in the commission of the underlying substantive offense; and

    4. That someone committed the underlying offense.

    United States v. DePace, 120 F.3d 233 (11th Cir. 1997); United States v. Chavez, 119 F.3d 342 (5th Cir. 1997); United States v. Powell, 113 F.3d 464 (3d Cir. 1997); United States v. Sayetsitty, 107 F.3d 1405 (9th Cir. 1997); United States v. Leos-Quijada, 107 F.3d 786 (10th Cir. 1997); United States v. Stands, 105 F.3d 1565 (8th Cir.), cert. denied (October 6, 1997) (No. 96-9541); United States v. Pipola, 83 F.3d 556 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, __ U.S. __, 117 S.Ct. 183, 136 L.Ed.2d 122 (1996); United States v. Chin, 83 F.3d 83 (4th Cir. 1996); United States v. Lucas, 67 F.3d 956, 959 (D.C. Cir. 1995); United States v. Spinney, 65 F.3d 231 (1st Cir. 1995); United States v. Spears, 49 F.3d 1136 (6th Cir. 1995).

    To convict as a principal of aiding and abetting the commission of a crime, a jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally aided and abetted the principal(s) in each essential element of the crime. United States v. Bancalari, 110 F.3d 1425, 1429 (9th Cir. 1997). The government must prove that the defendant associated with the criminal venture, purposefully participated in the criminal activity, and sought by his actions to make the venture successful. United States v. Landerman, 109 F.3d 1053, 1068 n.22 (5th Cir. 1997); United States v. Griffin, 84 F.3d 912, 928 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, __ U.S. __, 117 S.Ct. 495, 136 L.Ed.2d 387 (1996); Pipola, 83 F.3d at 562; United States v. Lucas, 67 F.3d 956 (D.C. Cir. 1995); Spinney, 65 F.3d at 238; United States v. Williamson, 53 F.3d 1500, 1515 (10th Cir. 1995); United States v. Roach, 28 F.3d 729, 736-37 (8th Cir. 1991); United S tates v. Ritter, 989 F.2d 318, 322 (9th Cir. 1993). A defendant associates with a criminal venture if he shares in the criminal intent of the principal, and the defendant participates in criminal activity if he has acted in some affirmative manner designed to aid the venture. Landerman, 109 F.3d at 1068 n.22. The level of participation may be of relatively slight moment. Leos-Quijada, 107 F.3d at 794. Also, it does not take much evidence to satisfy the facilitation element once the defendant's knowledge of the unlawful purpose is established. United States v. Bennett, 75 F.3d 40, 45 (1st Cir. 1996).

    [updated October 1998]

    ‹ 2473. Case Law up 2475. Intent ›

    Updated January 17, 2020

    Source : www.justice.gov

    Aiding and abetting

    Aiding and abetting

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    This article is about the legal doctrine. For the novel, see Aiding and Abetting (novel).

    Aiding and abetting is a legal doctrine related to the guilt of someone who aids or abets (encourages, incites) another person in the commission of a crime (or in another's suicide). It exists in a number of different countries and generally allows a court to pronounce someone guilty for aiding and abetting in a crime even if they are not the principal offender. The words aiding, abetting and accessory are closely used but have differences. While aiding means providing support or assistance to someone, committing a crime in exchange of a commission or compensation, abetting means encouraging someone else to commit a crime. Accessory is someone who in fact assists "commission of a crime committed primarily by someone else".[1]

    Contents

    1 Canada 2 United States 2.1 Criminal 2.2 History

    2.3 Application to "white collar crimes"

    2.4 Civil 3 United Kingdom 4 See also 5 References

    Canada[edit]

    In Canada, a person who aids or abets in the commission of a crime is treated the same as a principal offender under the criminal law. Section 21(1) of the provides that:

    Every one is a party to an offence who

    (a) actually commits it;

    (b) does or omits to do anything for the purpose of aiding any person to commit it; or

    (c) abets any person in committing it.[2]

    To show that an accused aided or abetted in the commission of a crime, the Crown does not need to prove the guilt of a specific principal offender.

    The Crown must show something more than mere presence to prove the act of aiding or abetting. Presence in the commission of a crime might be evidence of aiding and abetting if the accused had prior knowledge of the crime, or if the accused had legal duty or control over the principal offender. For example, the owner of a car who lets another person drive dangerously without taking steps to prevent it may be guilty because of their control over the driver's use of the vehicle.[3]

    Further, the Crown must show that the accused had prior knowledge that "an offence of the type committed was planned", but it is not necessary that the accused desired the result or had the motive of assisting the crime. Intention to assist the crime is sufficient.[4]

    United States[edit]

    Criminal[edit]

    Aiding and abetting is an additional provision in United States criminal law, for situations where it cannot be shown the party personally carried out the criminal offense, but where another person may have carried out the illegal act(s) as an agent of the charged, working together with or under the direction of the charged, who is an accessory to the crime. It is comparable to laws in some other countries governing the actions of accessories, including the similar provision in England and Wales under the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861.

    It is derived from the United States Code (U.S.C.), section two of title 18:

    (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.

    (b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.

    The scope of this federal statute for aiders and abettors "is incredibly broad—it can be implied in every charge for a federal substantive offense."[5] Where the term "principal" refers to any actor who is primarily responsible for a criminal offense.

    For a successful prosecution, the provision of "aiding and abetting" must be considered alongside the crime itself, although a defendant can be found guilty of aiding and abetting an offense even if the principal is found not guilty of the crime itself. In all cases of aiding and abetting, it must be shown a crime has been committed, but not necessarily who committed it.[6] It is necessary to show that the defendant has wilfully associated himself with the crime being committed, that he does, through his own act or omission, as he would do if he wished for a criminal venture to succeed.[7] Under this statute, anyone who aids or abets a crime may be charged directly with the crime, as if the charged had carried out the act himself.[8] This is distinct from the concept of being an , a charge distinct from being a principal.

    History[edit]

    The first United States statute dealing with accessory liability was passed in 1790, and made criminally liable those who should aid and assist, procure, command, counsel or advise murder or robbery on land or sea, or piracy at sea. This was broadened in 1870 to include any felony, and by it an accessory was anyone who counsels, advises or procures the crime. These early statutes were repealed in 1909, and supplanted by 18 U.S.C. § 550, a statute which included the modern language of "Whoever aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces, or procures the commission of an offense is a principal."[9]

    In 1948, § 550 became 18 U.S.C. § 2(a). Section 2(b) was also added to make clear the legislative intent to punish as a principal not only one who directly commits an offense and one who "aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures" another to commit an offense, but also anyone who causes the doing of an act which if done by him directly would render him guilty of an offense against the United States. It removes all doubt that one who puts in motion or assists in the illegal enterprise or causes the commission of an indispensable element of the offense by an innocent agent or instrumentality is guilty as a principal even though he intentionally refrained from the direct act constituting the completed offense.[10]

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

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